Professional athlete and 3-time Ironman champion

false Start

Just a quick update….it’s been a while.

Things have been busy, but not so much with the normal "swim, bike, run", though there’s been a bit of that as well.

After Kona, I debated another race…..Clearwater being an obvious choice, as a "World Championship" event. We hemmed and hawed, and pretty much decided to take a pass. Clearwater is not a great race set up for me….I go in a bit banged up from Kona, and the course is…well, you know the course. It’s flat, there’s too much auto traffic. It’s not safe, it’s not well marshaled and I am not sure it produces the kind of results you can feel good about, assuming you don’t get hit by a car first.

Still, it’s tempting to look around, to try to find a use for all that fitness you worked so long and hard to achieve. Seems silly to just let it wither away when it’s only October.

Fact being, I have never…and I mean NEVER raced well after Kona, no matter what the distance, so we decided to pull the plug, and get fat and lazy for a while. I did some maintenance training to bide my time until our "triathlon free vacation", the week before Thanksgiving. I put in a good 3 weeks of "fluff", which was uninspired at best.

Then I took the dreaded week "off". Nothing. No HR > 100. Living a busy, active lifestyle, it’s not easy to decompress like that. Oh, sure, I made use of the time; I cleaned my house top to bottom. Ordered Christmas cards, started Christmas shopping, walked my dog till she could walk no more, slowly though (no HR>100). Then I went to Cape Cod and did yard work till I could clip, prune, trim, and rake no more. I was the Tasmanian Devil of yard work. And then it was Wednesday…..

I survived my week off and was then able to start with some light workouts. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly it all disappears. The fitness rushes out like a busted dam, and the fat giggles come on with seemingly only one or two decadent indulgences, and I will spend the next 10 months getting back there to where I was only a week before….sigh. But you got to get slow to get fast, so slow I got!

I made some changes in my program, which was a difficult choice. I’ve had the privilege of working with one of the greatest coaches I know. She’s one of my best friends, she’s my training partner and for the last 7 years, she’s been my coach. We decided, though, not for any dissatisfaction with my performances, to try something new. Freshen things up a bit. Maybe come at this from a slightly different approach. And in the end, she’s still one of my best friends and is still my training partner, my pal and my confidant. It’s just now, my workouts come from a different place.

So that difficult decision made, Dave and I returned from a fabulous "triathlon free vacation" in the Napa Valley (extraordinary!!), and I got back to work. New program, new coach, all systems go and then……

Sputter, sputter, pghthththththhthththth.

Swine flu.

Now perhaps I shouldn’t have gotten so cozy with the pig, but he was just so darn cute.

It started on a Monday, I think. I’d had 2 pretty good days of training over the weekend and was slowly starting to feel like an athlete again. Both days, after my run, I had a bit of a cough, but chalked it up to the cold that is moving into New England to mark the start of the dreaded winter months. My lungs don’t typically do well in the cold, so since it was the first real cold we’d had, I assumed it was a little cold air hack and thought nothing of it.

Until Monday. By noon, I wasn’t feeling so well, so I took my temperature. 100. Not so bad, but best to be cautious, so I canceled my afternoon meetings and got on the couch.

I called my doctor and said "I think I might have the flu". They asked me my symptoms, which I reported back, "Slight cough. Fever".

"Did you get a swine flu shot?" the nurse asked me?

"No. You guys said I wasn’t important enough."

"Oh. Well, seems like maybe you’ll get your immunity the hard way then."

Lovely bedside manner, don’t you think?? At least he wrote me a prescription for Tamiflu. I went to CVS, and while I wanted for the Rx to get filled, I started to decline. Fast.

By the time I got home, my fever was 103 and I was starting to have a hard time breathing. By 5, my doctor called to see how I was feeling. The "hard way" nurse had reportedly given her the low down that I was low and down, so she called to check in. I’d barely said hello when she said "Oh, boy. You have H1N1". Awesome.

Since I could barely breathe, never mind speak and since my fever was now 104, she asked if I might come up to her office.

Negative, ghostrider. I couldn’t have imagined sitting up, never mind walking down 5 flights of stairs, and up 5 blocks to the doctors office.

Davey G to the rescue. He left work, went to my doc’s office and got me a nebulizer machine. The rest is a blur; a fever induced haze of about 24 hours I don’t much remember. I do recall, there was strong debate over an Emergency Room visit, but the thought of a cold plastic chair put me over the edge. In my fever induced delirium, I managed to strike a deal with Davey G that if my fever crossed the 105 barrier, we’d go. Until then, we stayed. So there it was. I had a goal. Keep the brain boil to < 105. It’s good to have goals.

Gradually, my fever abated. And then came the congestion. Long story short, swine flu sucks. Ass, in fact. It sucks ass.

I am well on the mend now, but still having fits of uncontrollable coughing; somewhat awkward in the middle of a 4 hour Compu Trainer ride, or 3 x 800 in the pool….but press on.

And that 2 weeks of steady training I’d gotten under my belt? Gone. Poof. Back to square one. My coach says it’s not gone…just hiding. It will be back.

In his last email, he simply said, "Trust me now. Believe me later." OK then; trust and belief. I can manage that. I think.....

False start. Here we go again.

Persistence. Determination. Love. The Journey!

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